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Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy that usually resolves after birth. In Canada, it is estimated that 3 - 20% of pregnant women develop diabetes during pregnancy. Genevieve Marleau, RD gives strategies to help manage healthy blood sugar levels during pregnancy.

Since high blood sugars can cause complications for both the mother and baby, it is important to manage your blood sugar levels while pregnant. Blood sugars can be managed with healthy eating, healthy weight gain and safe physical activity. A registered dietitian can help optimize your eating to prevent health complications. Our Registered Dietitian, Genevieve Marleau, gives three recommendations to consider to manage diabetes during pregnancy.

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Eating 3 meals and 2-3 snacks daily with regular intervals

Having frequent smaller meals and snacks and keeping them at regular intervals on a daily basis will help regulate blood sugars.

Healthy snacks include: 2 tbsp hummus with 2 Ryvita crackers, 1 individual Greek yogurt with 1 tbsp All Bran Buds and 1 whole apple cut in slices with 1 tbsp natural peanut butter.

Having a healthy weight gain during pregnancy

Healthy weight gain range during pregnancy is based on pre-pregnancy BMI. Although weight loss is not recommended, preventing unnecessary weight gain is important to manage diabetes. The following table reflects the recommended weight gain for all BMI categories.

Pre-pregnancy BMI
Recommended total 
weight gain (lbs)
Recommended weight gain rate per week in second and third trimester
BMI < 18.5 28 - 40 lbs 1.0 lb/week
BMI 18.5 – 24.9 25 – 35 lbs 1.0 lb/week
BMI 25 – 29.9 15 – 25 lbs 0.6 lb/week
BMI > 30 11 – 20 lbs 0.5 lb/week

Source: Canada Food Guide

Choosing low glycemic index foods

The glycemic index (GI) is a method of measuring how much a particular carbohydrate raises blood sugar levels after it is consumed. Low GI foods are recommended to prevent elevated blood glucose, examples to choose more often include green vegetables, sourdough bread, steel cut oats, bran flakes, quinoa, barley, popcorn, apple, berries, pear, milk or unsweetened almond beverage, chickpeas.

Do you have questions about gestational diabetes? 

Please consult with your physician or a registered dietitian to learn how to manage blood sugars during pregnancy.

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